Defending Ultra Stang event winner Chris Matters made a return appearance behind the wheel
We thought this day would never come. The scents of burnt racing gas and rubber wafted into our nostrils, signifying that after a long and arduous off-season, the '08 racing campaign was beginning in fine fashion at Orlando Speed World with the Fun Ford Weekend Spring Break Shootout. With lots of sunshine, warm temperatures, fast cars, awesome-looking show iron, and other sights galore, this year's edition of the season-opening event left no excuses for sitting at home in front of the television.
As per every year, the event kicked off with the infamous (and "unofficial") MM&FF Hooters party. Following a night of burnouts, beer, and wings, our staff kicked on over to the dragstrip to check out the lightning-fast heads-up cars, the ever-consistent index and bracket classes, and the coveted Spring Break Shootout class. When the race was over and the sun had set, many had come but few were left standing.
The abundance of Florida sunshine meant the car-show area was filled to capacity with award-quality vehicles. With gleaming paint, wheels, and rubber, everything from Mustangs and fast Fords from years gone by to brand-new Shelbys and Roush Mustangs could be seen waiting for the judges. While the show cars were shining, the race cars were flying.
The Pro final saw David Schorr gun down Todd Amandus via a 7.22 to 7.48 count. Schorr, whose Ford Escort packs an 818ci big-block Ford, qualified number one, though he never made a strong pass. "The car was spiking the tires after I pulled Second gear, pretty much all weekend," Schorr said. "Looking at the computer data after each run showed us the track was pretty loose most of the way. It was a handful, but we were able to get the job done and welcome UPR onboard this year with a win."
While Schorr mowed them down in Pro, the interesting story of the weekend came from the Keen brothers' camp, which saw not one, but two race cars. Jimmy Keen picked up Kevin Marsh and Chuck Samuel's old Pro car, making an attempt not only in that category, but with his Street Outlaw car as well. Unfortunately, Keen broke both the Pro car as well as the Outlaw car before the first round of competition. Keep an eye on the Outlaw car, though, as it sports a new 400ci bullet for this season.
The Street Outlaw class came down to Conrad Scarry and Tim Johnson. Scarry took the easy final-round single after Johnson broke the camshaft in his red turbocharged Mustang notchback. While Scarry scored the win with his small-block, twin-turbo combination, expect a change to be made in the powerplant department soon. "I'm getting a bit tired of breaking stuff all the time," Scarry said. While he was light on the details, we were able to gather that, while the twin turbos will remain, the small-block will make way for a big-block upwards of 600 ci.
Street Renegade saw a host of upsets as a loose track leveled the playing field between the fast cars and those with a tad less power. After defending Renegade champion Travis Franklin went out in Round 1, it was wide open, and former Pro 5.0 pilot Joe Morgan (behind the wheel of Jason Bryson's nitrous-gulping '03 Cobra) was the man left standing. Morgan's 441ci monster shot down John Worley in the final round with a 7.97. "We definitely weren't the fastest car in the field, but we were able to get down the track, and that's what counted," Morgan said after the race was over.
While Morgan came home with the win, another notable racer who showed up was former FFW champion Ronnie Wilson. Wilson, who made one appearance last year, gave it his best shot and qualified at the top half of the field, but found that after a couple of testing passes, the car had hurt some pistons. He jokingly said he poured in a can of Engine Restore before making his lone full-throttle pass of the weekend, an 8.13-second effort. Wilson did all he could, but he idled down the track in Round 1 knowing the engine was hurt.